The Dodge Charger was redesigned for the 2011 model year, and there are no significant changes for the 2012 Charger except that a new 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 has been added to the model lineup. The base engine is a 3.6-liter V-6 that's rated at 292 horsepower. The optional 370-hp, 5.7-liter V-8 features cylinder deactivation to save fuel under a light load. From the outside, this second-generation Charger looks a lot like an older rendering of the American sedan, but that appearance is misleading. The retro look is a self-confident exercise in sinuous American styling. The interior, however, is anything but old style. It's richly furnished with cutting-edge conveniences, advanced technology and the no-nonsense functionalism buyers demand. A first-rate, 8.4-inch touch-screen navigation system is coupled with a rearview camera and ancillary controls for climate and audio. The latest navigation system is sensationally intuitive, transparent, and pleasing to use, among the best we've seen. It's very easy to read and very easy to understand. Underscoring this user-friendliness, the Charger's audio controls for volume and tuning are accomplished with old-fashioned, practical radial knobs: What a concept! And following through, each of these knobs is furnished with a nice rubber feel as you make your one-touch adjustments. Brilliant. German luxury brands costing vastly more could learn from the Charger's straightforward controls.
The stark four-letter badges on the car's sides say, Hemi. Not a lot more need be said. This is a serious American V8, with torque and horsepower enough to pin you back in your seat or, just as surely, enough poise to potter along as complacently as you like. And because this is a fully self-confident powerplant, Dodge sees no need to hype it with a sudden, falsely energetic throttle pedal. Throttle response is immediate and proportional, allowing smooth, forceful acceleration. Dodge's Fuel-Saver Technology cancels four cylinders when they aren't needed, also eliminating needless fuel flow when decelerating. All-wheel drive is always a useful thing to have aboard, delivering massively better traction and dynamic balance in almost any driving. Ride quality is very good, and the car's solid structure soaks up road surface irregularities with ease. Yet as relatively compliant as the ride is, steering is lively and communicative, keeping you in direct touch with the road. Despite its dimensions, this is a crisp, sporty muscle sedan. It incites confidence and enjoyable driving.
The rear seat is firm and supportive, with a fairly hard back-cushion. A central pull-down elbow rest contains two cup holders and a stowage compartment. Dual rear-seat climate vents are provided, together with a 12-volt outlet and rear seat heaters. Deluxe. Beautiful plum-shaded Nappa leather upholstery is furnished throughout. The front-seat display is mildly spartan, but not in the sense of being cold or under-supplied. Rather, the instrumentation has attractive, classy white-on-black dials. The display, uncomplicated and straightforward, is simple modern. The dashboard has a sleek, scooped-out titanium-look central motif. Below the tachometer (which no longer has a redline because automatic shifting prevents over-revving) and speedometer are a water temperature gauge and a fuel gauge. Also included in the instrumentation is a compass and an exterior temperaturereadout. Between these instruments, an Info board delivers a list of performance parameters, including coolant temperature, oil temperature, oil pressure, transmission temperature, engine hours, tire pressure and several measures of instant and trip fuel mileage. Safety features on all Dodge Chargers includes electronic traction control (TCS), electronic stability control (ESC), anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), brake assist, rain brake support, hill-start assist, automatic headlamps, active front head restraints, all federally mandated airbags (seven), front seatbelt pretensioners, lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH), occupant restraint controller. Available all-wheel drive can improve handling stability in adverse conditions, and the available rearview camera can help the driver spot a child behind the car when backing up.
The body of the second-generation modern Charger is crisply styled throughout. It is considerably edgier and more muscular than its immediate predecessor. Along the sides of the car are slanting, angular indentations that echo the racy rear-facing engine-room vents made so famous on the all-conquering Dodge Viper supercar. Continuing this street look, in profile, the car's dramatically low roofline tapers downward rapidly at the car's mid-point. In combination with its high waistline and compressed greenhouse, the car expresses a secretive, almost hot-rod chopped appearance. Occupants seem to peer outward from sinister gun slit-like windows. Yet for all of its hunched-over appearance, the occupants' outward visibility is quite good enough. When the Charger's dynamic outward appearance is combined with its strong performance, this is an American muscle sedan with the credentials to appeal to a broad range of tastes.
The 2012 Dodge Charger lineup is composed of the Charger SE, Charger SXT, Charger R/T, and Charger SRT8.
Charger SE comes standard with a 3.6-liter 292-hp V6, rear-wheel drive, 5-speed automatic transmission with manual selection, cloth upholstery, 6-way power driver's seat, 60/40 split rear seat, cruise control, manual tilt-telescopic steering column, power windows with express front up/down, rear window defroster, 4.3-inch touch-screen audio and media center, six audio speakers, USB port with iPod control, auxiliary input jack, power door locks, keyless remote, push-button start, power trunk-lid release, two 12-volt outlets, intelligent battery sensor, LED-illuminated front cup holders, rear seat armrest with cup holders, map pockets front and rear, illuminated sun visor vanity mirrors, front overhead console, LED-illuminated rear handles and reading lamps, electronic color vehicle information center, urethane shift knob and steering wheel, trunk cargo net and full trunk liner with emergency deck-lid release, dual deck-lid lamps.
Charger SXT upgrades with halogen fog lamps, heated power mirrors, dual-zone front climate controls, humidity sensor, LED-illuminated front/rear map pockets, front overhead console with dome lamp and universal HomeLink, LED front-row illumination, 8.4-inch touch-screen display with voice command, premium Alpine 8-speaker audio, 12-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, 180-amp alternator, automatic defog, remote start. Connectivity Group for SXT includes voice command with Bluetooth, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and leather-wrapped shift knob. Charger R/T features the 5.7-liter 370-bhp Hemi V8 with Decel Fuel Shut Off (DFSO). The optional R/T Driver Confidence Group adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, parking view rear backup camera, high-intensity headlamps, exterior mirrors with courtesy lamps, rain-sensing wipers and smart-beam headlamps.
Charger SRT8 boasts a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with 470 hp plus a special SRT heated steering wheel with paddle shifters for manual shifting, a two-mode adaptive damping suspension, and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon 900-watt audio system.
Options include the Driver Convenience Group for SXT Plus and R/T Plus includes heated and ventilated front seats with driver memory, power-adjustable heated mirrors with memory, power-adjustable pedals with memory, power tilt/telescoping steering column with memory. Adaptive Cruise Control Group for SXT Plus, R/T Plus, and R/T Road & Track adds forward collision warning with adaptive cruise control and heated steering wheel. Navigation Group includes voice command with Garmin navi, SIRIUS Traffic, SIRIUS Travel Link, and parking view rear backup camera.
The 2012 Dodge Charger is a dynamic, forceful road car that starts, stops and corners with poise. If Dodge had come anywhere near to this kind of Charger years ago, the company would have been every buyer's hero. This is an American sedan to be proud of. For more information about the 2012 Dodge Charger, click here.
Some of the information for this review was obtained through newcartestdrive.com
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